Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months you’ll have heard about Project Gutenberg. It’s the new wordpress visual editor, due for release as part of WordPress version 5.
A lot has been said about Gutenberg. Why fix something that isn’t broken? I can see why WordPress have decided it’s time to change.
A few months ago we found out that 30% of the web is powered by WordPress which is HUGE! To keep those numbers WordPress need to stay ahead of the game and keep innovating. If they sit still and just admire their work (so to speak) their competitors will catch up and eventually surpass them.
So Project Gutenberg is not only necessary but it’s vital to the survival and future growth of WordPress.
It’s had some well documented teething problems. But I’ll let you in on a little trade secret. Very, very rarely is good software developed and released without at least a few problems. And I can guarantee that WordPress will not release version 5 is Gutenberg is not fit for purpose.
My experience with project Gutenberg is that it’s a really nifty editor. I loved it from the moment I created my first post with it. And I’m not easily impressed when it comes to this kind of stuff.
But why do I love it? Let’s find out with 5 things you didn’t know about Project Gutenberg.
Why Project Gutenberg?
So you might be wondering why the new wordpress editor was code named Gutenberg. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until I read an article about it that I realized the significance of the name.
Johannes Gutenberg started the printing revolution in Europe when he introduced the mechanical printing press. Calling it Gutenberg is WordPress telling the world that they’re starting their own revolution.
Get it now!
Gutenberg is available right now as an optional plugin for you to install. This gives both bloggers and WordPress some benefits.
As far as wordpress is concerned they effectively have their end users actively testing Gutenberg. You can report problems to them and they will be triaged for their developers to fix, which is a win for everyone.
As for us bloggers, it means we have a chance to get used to it on our own terms before it’s forced on us.
When you’ve installed it you have the option to create posts using the old editor or Gutenberg. You’re also given the option to convert pre-existing posts to Gutenberg blocks (see below). You won’t be forced to do this to your old posts, so don’t think you’re going to have to go through EVERY post you’ve ever written. But if you decide to republish a post it’s something to consider.
Writing blog posts will no longer be like typing a document. Each element on screen, whether it be text or image or anything else, is added as part of a block.
When you add a block to your page you can choose the type of element or content that you want it to hold. Depending on what it is you want to put there WordPress will display different options.
For example if you want to add a quote you can choose to display it in regular size or large size.
Embedding Multimedia is a piece of cake
This was what made me sit up and take notice of Gutenberg. No longer will you have to copy code from YouTube to embed videos within your blog posts. Never again will you need to fiddle with code to add tweets or Facebook posts into your blog posts. With Gutenberg all you need is the URL and it takes care of the rest.
Even as someone who is comfortable with code I’ve found the process of adding content from other platforms a bit of a pain at times. But Gutenberg does all the hard work for you.
Switch it off at first
When Gutenberg is released as part of WordPress 5, you will have the option to keep using the old editor for a period of time. No-one knows yet how long that will be, do don’t take that as an option to stick with the old editor. Gutenberg will replace the old editor.
But there are a couple of legitimate reasons you might want to switch it off for a while. You might have an essential plugin that doesn’t play nice with Gutenberg, so you might want to give the plugin authors or Gutenberg time to fix the problem. The same issue goes for themes however, I would be very surprised if plugin and theme writers are not hustling day and night to get their ducks in a row where Gutenberg is concerned.
Why do I love Gutenberg?
I know Gutenberg has had a bit of bad press, especially a few months ago when it was having a few teething problems. There was also an article published recently saying that there’s still a huge number of plugins not compatible with it.
I was a bit skeptical about it after I’d seen it work poorly at my local WordPress meet up a few months ago. But do you know what? I think it’s brilliant. For me, the much easier way to embed media from other platforms is a huge selling point for me, especially now I’m spending a lot of time recording YouTube videos.